Do you feel pangs of jealousy when your mate is eyeballing someone attractive or spending time with someone you consider a threat? Under your anger, what do you really feel? Sadness, fear? Sadness that you’re not getting that kind of attention. Fear that you may not be attractive enough, sexy enough, smart enough, wealthy enough, or just not good enough for your significant other. Sadness and fear often fuels anger.
Unfortunately, when jealousy erupts, people have a tendency to not say what they really feel, but instead turn cold, make a passive/aggressive remark (“If you find her so hot, why don’t you get her number!?”), or pick a verbal fight. None of these get to the root of the anger and only inflames the issue.
To prevent conflict and to use this situation to strengthen and deepen your relationship simply speak your truth and state what you need. Sounds easy doesn’t it, but for many people to open themselves up is terrifying for fear of being rejected (in the form of not being heard or understood)--by the most important person in their life.
Muster up the courage to express your deepest feelings, why you feel them and what you need. Emotions are a result of met (happy feelings) or unmet (angry, sad or fearful feelings) needs so don’t forget to say what you need. Let’s say a wife is jealous over her husband working late with a female colleague.
“I was angry earlier because a lot of time is being spent with Jane and that’s bringing up fear that she’s more interesting than me. But what’s even deeper than that is maybe I’m not enough for you and I might lose you. I’m sad that we haven’t been connecting in a long time. What I need and want is to reconnect.”
Being clear and direct in the message without attacking, blaming or judging will get you heard more likely and if the spouse is understanding, he might say,
“I can see why you’d feel that way. We have been distant over the past few months. I guess I’ve been using work as an excuse not to deal with our issues. The truth is when I’m second-guessed over our finances or criticized about my weight, I don’t feel supported and end up feeling not good enough for you so I want to escape our relationship.
This is a brief example of how opening oneself can lead to connecting and understanding each other better. Hopefully, if this were a real couple, they’d next talk about how to better support one another so their needs can be met.
Copyright © Sho Aoyagi 2013
These articles are meant to be informative and not to be taken as advice. Every person’s situation is different and the articles may not pertain to your speciﬁc situation.
Also, before dealing with any issue with another person or before attempting to look at your own issues, it’s important to consult with an appropriate professional for guidance.